When Ryan Miller was little, he lived in Haiti. While there, his family took a flight from Port-au-Prince to Santo Domingo for a short vacation. The flight was on a Pearl Airways DC-3. The Captain invited Ryan up front while still on the ground, and then proceeded to let Ryan stay up front the entire trip. He then put Ryan in his chair - with paying passengers in the back - and let him bank the plane around a cloud. Yes, highly, highly illegal.
But, pretty intoxicating for a 12 year-old.
Do you see that smile over there to the right? No one can say for sure but the odds are good that right there was the moment this company was born, even if Ryan didn't know it at the time.
We do know that smile is still basically the same any time Ryan is near an airplane, in another country, a new city.
Art is always tricky but after years in the video game industry and working in graphic design, Ryan decided it was time to create some art that would remind him of that smile and that he would hang on his own walls. On a trip, of course, to Mexico, Ryan decided to start 08 Left. Though he had eaten some bad fish, sometimes when you can't sleep, the best ideas kick in and insist that someone bring them to life.
And the rest is, as they say, history.
Years later, we're still creating what we think is the coolest, most modern, and the best art and apparel centered around the twins of aviation and travel. And still smiling.
08 Left is not just a runway designation, it is representative of three cities that mean a lot to Ryan and his wife Heidi. 08 Left is a runway in Vancouver, BC where Ryan and Heidi went on one of their first dates, in Paris, France, where they spent two weeks on the vacation of a lifetime and in Honolulu, Hawaii, where they went on their honeymoon.
But, of course, it's never just about a runway.
We love clean, modern, design. We love aviation and travel. We love the intoxicating blast of a jet engine combined with the intricate flight plans that allow us to see new places, new faces, and create better stories. We love all that an airport can represent: from the memory of the first time seeing an airplane, holding your dad’s hand, to meeting your fiancé as they walk out the door, to that honeymoon. The world of aviation is inspiring to us, it’s beautiful, it’s magical and it represents our stories. We make art and apparel for that. It looks good and means… the world. To you and your journey. Life’s a trip, as we often say… and we mean it literally. So don't shut the shades and fall asleep just waiting for some kind of future destination, open the shades, bask in the view from 33,000 feet and sit back in awe and wonder at the magic that we have the gift of experiencing and living.
01. Who would rather collect adventures.
Cities, airports, countries, and continents - and the experiences that come with them - are our trading cards. We collect and treasure them.
02. Who love the view up there.
Up where the spicy tomato juice tastes better and things are put in their proper place: problems get smaller and the world gets bigger. Elie Weisel says to "think higher and feel deeper". We're all in, whether it's at 38,000 feet or ground level. Of course, we want the window seat so we can enjoy that view.
03. Who appreciate the journey as much as the destination.
Sometimes we're so intent on getting somewhere that we can't seem to enjoy the spot we're already in. But, when we manage to stop complaining about the seat in front of us, we can realize we're participating in something magical.
04. Who are always looking and listening.
See the paint colors on that street. Listen to the waves crash against the shore. Taste that 500 year-old pastry recipe. Feel the energy in the street market. Smell the sunshine heat up the puddles. Pay attention to the stories of those who have already been there and, by all means, keep looking for a sweet deal on flights.
05. Who love the new.
Not new things but new experiences. New cultures, new languages, new perspectives, new ideas, new architecture, new designs, new stories, new relationships, new histories, and new ways to do... just about everything. It's all out there and we're a little addicted to it.
06. Who choose awe instead of frustration.
Yes, we all know the lines in TSA are long. Yes, we all know the tray tables are closer to our knees. Yes, we all know our favorite spot turned into a tourist trap. But then we remember what we're doing. Frustration can really wipe out the awe. But choosing awe will take out the knees of frustration.
07. Who smile at every takeoff and landing.
The deafening roar and that delicate wing flex. That thing of beauty is carrying hundreds of people thousands of miles. Sometimes we're on it and sometimes we're just watching but either way we're smiling like we were the first time we experinced it.
08. Who generally consider life to be a big, beautiful, amazing trip...
Some people (of every profession, income, race, religion and circumstance) consider life to be a small, ugly, boring trip, and... they make smiles fade pretty fast. But some people (of every profession, income, race, religion and circumstance) know how to do just the opposite. We want to be them and be with them.